Archive for July, 2004

Saturday, July 31st, 2004

Don’t point at the Marine, please



Newly crowned Kerry storms back on the campaign trail

Spotting a group of US Marines, Kerry, who has made his Vietnam War service a cornerstone of his campaign, went over to chat. The Marines, who all turned out to be staunch Bush supporters, were not impressed.

“He imposed on us and I disagree with him coming over here shaking our hands,” one of them told reporters afterwards. “I’m 100 percent against” Kerry, he said. “We support our commander-in-chief 100 percent.”

Had the Newly Crowned pointed his finger like that at me, I’d have politely requested that he wouldn’t. I might have even tried the subtle handshake-imitation techinique, where one attempts a handshake to end the offensive finger pointing.

Meanwhile, while still at Wendy’s John Edwards and his wife consumed junk food to celebrate their anniversary as reminder of the days when they were struggling young law clerks, before they made their fortune using junk science to win medical malpractice lawsuits.

According to Allah, while the Edwardses were in familiar surroundings, Mrs Kerry hasn’t been to a Wendy’s for a long time, if ever:

The Edwardses had hearty meals of burgers and fries and shared a chocolate Frosty. Teresa Heinz Kerry, apparently unfamiliar with the Wendy’s menu, pointed at a picture of chili and asked the cashier what it was before ordering a bowl. Her husband had the same, along with a Frosty

The article doesn’t say whether Mrs Kerry had some pommes frites/papitas fritas/patate fritte with her chili.

Later on in the day, an onlooker passed out from the heat and Vanessa Kerry, a third-year medical student, rushed to give medical assistance. No word as to whether the Newly Crowned tried his successful hamster-resucitation techinique.

Friday, July 30th, 2004

Apocalypse Kerry

. . . is the title of Lawrence Kaplan’s article in The New Republic (via Betsy’s Page)

Indeed, he spent far more time discussing domestic policy than he spent discussing foreign and defense policy. And when he did get around to discussing the matter of our national survival, he basically took a page from the post-Vietnam playbook favored by an earlier generation of Democrats. “We shouldn’t be opening firehouses in Baghdad,” the candidate declared to rousing applause, “and shutting them down in the United States of America.” Suggesting that Europeans won’t send troops to Iraq simply because they can’t stand his opponent, Kerry promised to be nicer to our allies so we could “bring our troops home.” Unlike, say, in Bosnia, he pledged to go to war “only because we have to.” Leaving unsaid exactly by whom and at what cost, he dedicated himself to making America “respected in the world.” Finally, and without saying precisely what it is, Kerry said he knows “what we have to do in Iraq.” He has a plan, you see. Just like a candidate from long ago claimed to have a plan to end a war–the war that put Kerry on the stage last night and which, for him at least, wasn’t so long ago at all.

Kaplan’s clearly a member of The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy.

Note to Kerry:  Saying “Any attack will be met with a swift and certain response.” just doesn’t cut the Grey PouponWe have been attacked.

Friday, July 30th, 2004

Playing the Blame the Americans game

Chrenkoff has an article by Hitchens Christopher Hitchens: It happened, Mr Adams, responding to Phillip Adams’s article that tried to white-wash mass-murderer Saddam enough to make Bush and Blair look just as bad. Hitchens states

It is quite conceivable that this horrific fact has in itself led to some over-counting. Tony Blair, scorned by Adams, has mentioned a figure of 400,000. The late UN special representative for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, specified a figure of 290,000 Iraqis over three decades. (That was before the Saddamist-jihadist alliance put an end to de Mello’s life by blowing up the UN headquarters in Baghdad last year, thus adding to a toll that is by the way still rising.) Bear in mind that those are only statistics of Iraqis. But perhaps Adams doesn’t wish to take the word of the man who assisted East Timor to liberation, and who was sceptical of the intervention in the first place.

Very well, he can consult the still-extant UN resolution that demanded in vain that Iraq provide an accounting of what happened to the many hundreds of Kuwaiti prisoners who vanished during the illegal obliteration of Kuwaiti statehood in 1990. Or he can inquire after the hundreds of thousands of young Iranians and Iraqis who perished as a consequence of Saddam’s lunatic invasion of Iran. If he wants to do Baathist body counts, I can keep him busy for the rest of his journalistic career.

Also in Chrenkoff, Médecins sans Frontières blames America first. No matter that the doctors were killed by either Taliban remnants or opium growers. It’s the Americans’ fault because of their “attempts to use humanitarian aid to win hearts and minds. That jeopardises the aid to people in need and endangers the lives of humanitarian aid workers … These soldiers are often out of uniform. It’s hard to know what nationality they are.” The BBC News broadcast repeated the sentiment.

Likewise, this op-ed article (in Spanish) lays the blame for the March 11 train explosions in Madrid on the Americans, since “they didn’t win the war in Iraq” and coudln’t protect Spain from terrorists.

Since when is it America’s duty to protect Spain — a sovereign country, a democracy, with years of experience in terrorist attacks — from terrorists, may I ask?

Not lagging behind, yesterday’s France2 news (no link) interviewed two relatives of the victims of the Bakuba car bomb, who said the explosion was caused by an American rocket. Taking those two at their word, the France2 commentator (yes, commentator, not reporter) finished his report saying “the locals fear the next American attack”.

Clearly, none of these people asked Mohammed as to who’s to blame.

Friday, July 30th, 2004

Kerryoke

Mark Steyn has lots of song lyrics from his readers, among them Old Kid In Town (sung to the music of Take It Easy), Massachusetts Mancini (Baby Elephant Walk), Fifty Ways to Flip Your Flopper (to the music of Slip-slidin’ Away), and The Bossa Snooza, titled The Pol from Massachusetts (also known as The Girl from Ipanema):

Tall and gaunt and grim and dreary

The pol from Massachusetts goes stumping

And as he’s speaking, each one who’s listening

Goes haaaooowwuuuuhhhhhnnnn (yawn)

A reader named Catherine B sent The Kerry Mambo #5, with instructions for the dance

A note on the dance: The John Kerry Mambo is a great deal like the normal mambo, with one notable exception- each individual dancer looks around, sees what other people are doing, copies it, and then changes moves again as soon as the one copied realizes what’s going on. For this reason, we recommend that the dance not be done in large groups, as chaos can result.

Kerry’s not the only subject;  other lyrics include Edwards, the Wilson/Plame couple and Whoopi.

Readers are warned that Mr. Steyn has an article titled Skinnydipping With Al Gore, which brings a visual image much too difficult to grasp at this time of morning.

For the morning news, don’t miss this

Thursday, July 29th, 2004

This is what you support

From Iraq The Model:

Yes, all we need is the will and determination to crush a company that is so close to bankruptcy but the disgraceful doings of some parts postpone it once again, like what Spain, Manilla and Egypt lately did.

What’s even worse and disgusting is that these governments smugly come and ask the admirably determined nation Australia to apologize while it’s them who must apologize to the whole world for their awful mistakes that encouraged terrorists and reassured them that their criminal tactics can work.

These countries have found excuses for terror and gave the terrorists the motives to carry on with their plans as long as these plans can make “sovereign countries” yield in front of a true criminal action.

A must-read.

Thursday, July 29th, 2004

20 bags of manure

Someone in Crawford Texas sent 20 bags of manure to the place where Michael Moore’s movie was to be shown,

Overnight, 20 bags of composted cow manure were dumped near the spot where television crews do live broadcasts from Crawford, a few miles from Bush’s Central Texas ranch.

The fertilizer, in 25-pound bags, included a sign addressed: “To Michael Moore. One piece of Bull**** deserves another.”

which apparently caused Moore to stay away, even when Moore had said he’d “bring the movie” to Crawford and had previously invited the President to see the movie.

Moore wasn’t the only one missing: the NYTimes reports that “only a handful of moviegoers from the tiny hamlet of Crawford were in attendance. There appeared to be twice as many foreign exchange students from Belgium as locals.”

As far as the manure goes, Crawford Police Officer Ken Jones is quoted as saying “I do appreciate the guy leaving (the manure) in the bags.”

Here in The Principality a couple of years ago a woman was caught trying to steal at the Princeton Shopping Center when shoveling (unbagged) horse manure into her car trunk. Obviously Crawford is not a college town.

Thursday, July 29th, 2004

More on Cole Porter

Writing about De-lovely in Oh, the Songs! A trip to the moon on gossamer wings, Derbyshire encourages us

To remind yourself of, or discover, a popular culture that did not insult its consumers, go to see De-Lovely. And if the stagey conceits, gym-rat physiques, feeble dialogue, and unexplored subtleties irritate you, just relax and listen to the songs, the songs, the beautiful clever songs of Cole Porter.

He also touches on the marriage, alliteration and assonance, muscles, botox, recitativo intros, and sophistication. I agree with him: they just don’t write songs like they used to.

Wednesday, July 28th, 2004

Stem cell research

Much was made of Ron Reagan’s speech last night at the Convention. I must admit that I don’t watch political conventions, but read the speech. The speech is, at the very least, inaccurate, and I would say, misleading. Some have called it cruel and contemptible .

As it stands today, stem-cell research is legal in the USA, and is presently being funded through private companies and the National Institutes of Health, which, as you can read in this document, started being funded during the present administration

Through the President’s leadership and the extraordinary efforts of the NIH, we are making good progress in meeting the potential of this exciting new field of science- a field that had not been federally funded prior to the President’s historic address to the Nation on August 9, 2001

and the government would spend $250 million on research involving stem cells from other (non-embryonic) sources, e. g., umbilical cord, placenta, adult and animal tissues.

The prior administration had prohibited federal funding on research to support the creation of human embryos for research purposes and directed NIH not to allocate resources for such research. Currently, cloning, and the creation of human embryos solely for research purposes are prohibited; you can read more details on other limitations in the Background and Legal Issues Related to Stem Cell Research document.

A great deal of the research involves adult stem cells. There is much controversy on the use of embryonic stem cells. Many people, like myself, fully support adult stem cell research but have great misgivings on the use of any human embryonic tissue, on the use of human embryos at all, and on the ethical long-term implications.

As you can see from this last link, the research is still in its early stages and there’s much promise. It is not clear yet what the advantages are of one type of stem cell over another, much less what diseases might be cured,

Currently, it is not clear whether stem cells from adult tissues or umbilical cord blood are pluripotent. The comparison of human embryonic stem cells to adult stem cells is currently a very active area in research, and one that will hopefully lead to cures for tissue degenerative diseases in the future

however, Hematopoietic Stem Cells (HSCs), present in the bone marrow and precursors to all blood cells, are currently the only type of stem cells commonly used for therapy.

Ron Reagan’s political speech (and political it is by definition, given its venue, in spite of his claims to the contrary) focused entirely on the subject of the role the Federal government might play in funding embryonic stem cell research. His dream for a cure for “a wide range of fatal and debilitating illnesses” is simply that, a dream. Cures might develop, but they are presently highly unlikely. What might come from the embryonic stem cells is unknown and unknowable at this time. Exploiting his parents’ fame — which is why he was at the Convention — while confusing embryonic stem cell research with HSCs (“And finally, those cells — with your DNA — are injected into your brain where they will replace the faulty cells whose failure to produce adequate dopamine led to the Parkinson’s disease in the first place“) to make a political point is unforgivable.

Wednesday, July 28th, 2004

On slavery

A friend emailed me this article, Slaves in Saudi

The unpalatable truth is that, the Ottoman and Persian empires were one of the last to abolish slavery, falling far behind their European counterparts in matters of human emancipation. Full abolition of slavery did not come until the twentieth century, with Saudi Arabia holding out until 1962. Given that desert kingdom’s shameful record on this basic human right, it was no surprise to read Human Rights Watch’s report and find that today’s migrant workers are kept in conditions of “near-slavery.”

The Muslim world is sliding backwards into medievalism, and it is time for reformers to speak openly and bravely. There is a cancer that is eating away at our soul — a disease marked by paranoia, double standards and virulent racism. While we are in full-throated cry against abuses in Iraq and Palestine, we stay completely silent when it is Muslims who are the abusers (of both non-Muslims and Muslims).

How else to explain our outpouring of sympathy for the Bosnian genocide, but our complete silence on the ongoing genocide in Sudan? In that country’s civil war between the Arab Muslim North, and the black Christian and Animist South, 2 million people have been killed to date. In a BBC profile of the hundreds of black Africans who have been raped by pro-government Janjaweed Arab militia, one victim described the attackers: “They called me Abeid (slave in Arabic).”

Wednesday, July 28th, 2004

Fear

Ted Kennedy, last night: “, “The only thing we have to fear is four more years of George W. Bush!”

You’re wrong, Ted:



(photo via the Instapundit)